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How to create multiple profiles in MacOS Sonoma Safari (and when you should)


MacOS Sonoma

Apple/ZDNET

Do you use the same Safari instance for both personal and business purposes? Or do you have multiple people who use the same browser? If you find yourself in either scenario, you could be the ideal user for Safari’s new Profiles feature. 

With the rollout of MacOS Sonoma, you can now create profiles on Safari that are isolated from one another. For instance, you might create Work and Personal profiles, which would ensure all of the cookies, passwords, and information saved in the Work profile will never cross-pollinate into the Personal profile. In fact, each profile has separate histories, cookies, website data, extensions, Tab Groups, and favorites. 

More Safari how-to: Merge multiple windows | Enable reading mode | Use speech-to-text | Deny websites access to your location

Thanks to this new feature, all of those strange and wonderful things you search for in a Personal profile will have no bearing on your Work profile, so you don’t have to worry about something unwanted popping up while you’re in the middle of a work presentation.

Or maybe you’re shopping for gifts and don’t want someone who uses Safari to check your history.

Now, before you get too excited, note that the one thing missing from this new feature is the ability to password-protect a Profile. So, if you’re thinking Profiles will be a great way to hide your browsing history from someone, think again. All the other person would have to do is switch to your profile and have at it. 

However, if you just need to isolate data to specific use cases, this is a great option.

Let me show you how it’s done.

How to create a new profile in Sonoma Safari

What you’ll need: To work with Safari Profiles, you’ll need the version of Safari (v17) that ships with MacOS Sonoma. Any version of the OS prior to Sonoma will not include the feature. With that version of Safari ready, let’s create our first profile.

The first thing to do is open Safari. With the browser open, click the Safari entry in the Menu bar and then click Create Profile. Do note that once you’ve added your first profile, this entry will change to Manage Profiles.

The Safari menu in the MacOS Sonoma Menu Bar.

Accessing the Profile manager is done via the Safari menu.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: How to password-protect your Private Browsing in MacOS Sonoma and Safari

In the resulting popup, click Start Using Profiles.

The Safari Profiles tab in Settings.

There’s a new tab in the Safari Settings window on MacOS Sonoma.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In the resulting window, give your profile a name, select an icon and color, and then either select Create new bookmarks folder or Use existing folder. Once you’ve done that, click Create Profile.

The Safari Create Profile window.

Make sure to select a different color for each profile you create to avoid confusion.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: How to merge multiple Safari windows (and why you should)

Back in the Profiles window, click the Extensions tab and then select any extension you want to use in the profile or de-select those you don’t want. When finished, close the Settings window.

The Safari Extensions tab in the Profile Manager.

Any extension you’ve installed for Safari will be listed here.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In the upper left corner of Safari, you’ll see a Profile drop-down, where you can quickly select between the Profiles you’ve created or open a new window for that profile. That, of course, means you can have different Safari windows open, each associated with a different profile. Because of this, it’s important that you configure each profile with a different color, so you can quickly tell them apart. Otherwise, you could do personal browsing on your Work profile or work browsing on your Personal profile.

The Safari profile drop-down.

This is why it’s important to configure each profile with a unique color.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Also: The best VPN services: Expert tested and reviewed

And that’s how you work with Safari profiles in MacOS Sonoma. This is a very handy feature for those who use the same laptop or desktop for both personal and work usage.





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